To assess the interaction of nitrogen, mineral, and electrolyte metabolism and adrenocortical function during infection, volunteer subjects were exposed to aerosolized Pasteurella tularensis while undergoing complete metabolic balance study. Nitrogen, sodium, potassium, phosphate, calcium, and magnesium balances were determined in 16 subjects; in these and 26 others, urinary adrenocortical steroids were also measured.
With the onset of acute illness, 17-hydroxycorticosteroid and 17-ketosteroid excretion rose significantly; excretion returned abruptly to normal after institution of therapy. Urinary pregnanetriol increased transiently at the onset of fever. Individuals exposed to attenuated organisms, previously vaccinated or sham exposed showed no appreciable change in steroid excretion